Rising stars being groomed to be ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’


Many words can be used to describe Millennials: tech-savvy, gregarious and dance aficionados and now, articulate, competitive and fearless can be added to the list.

The National Black MBA Association, Inc. (NBMBAA) – District of Columbia Chapter’s Leaders of Tomorrow initiative, mentors and prepares high school students to perform well in the classroom and to compete in the boardroom. Their hard work is paying off.

Members of The Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) participated in the annual National Business Case Competition at Rice University in Houston earlier this year and brought home the top prize of $15,000 in scholarships.

The high school students outperformed 24 other teams from across the country. The students analyzed a Harvard MBA-level business case. In preparation for the competition, the students mastered advanced math, critical thinking, analytics, writing, research, and public speaking skills. The young scholars presented recommendations, implementation plans, and a 10-year financial forecast for Whole Foods. The competition was presented to and judged by business school faculty and senior corporate executives.

Cedric Mobley, chair of the Leaders of Tomorrow Program, Washington, D. C. Chapter said the high school students were evaluated with the same level of objectivity used to evaluate a graduate student or a professional consultant.

“We tell two lies to young African-Americans. The first is that they can’t accomplish greatness because of their background. With a black president and black billionaires, that one is actually easy to debunk now,” said Cedric Mobley. “The second [lie] is much more insidious–that if you are really talented, success should be easy. It is a very powerful lie that makes it way too easy for young people to trade their hopes and dreams for laziness under the premise of ‘just not being talented enough.’ Our job is to show them that talent comes from practice and it’s not something bestowed at birth from God,” said Mobley. “Therefore, the only person that can keep you from reaching your goals is you.”

The 2015 LOT National Business Case Competition winning team members include: Mufaro Nyermhuka, 18; Aden Coleman, 16; Team Captain Kaaliyah McDowell, 17; Dimitrius Hutcherson, 16; and Michael Boodoo, 16.

The NBMBAA chapters provide mentors who coach students on an ongoing basis in areas that will guide them into personal and professional success. The organization supports high school students in college preparation, academic success, leadership, social engagement, networking and goal setting.

Jazmin Tanner is a testament of the program’s success. Tanner recently received the Mentor of the Year Award from NBMBAA-DC Chapter during the annual scholarship and awards brunch.

“The Leaders of Tomorrow Program exposed me to things that weren’t offered in school. I received real life examples of what it takes to transform dreams into reality, and most importantly, it taught me the vitality of mentorship in our community,” said Tanner.

Currently, she is a consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton and serves as a subject matter expert for the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Project Management

Accountability System. When Tanner participated in LOT in 2009, she served as the Case Competition Team Captain as well as the student president and CEO of the chapter.

In addition to the National Business Case Competition, the organization’s other key initiatives include, a Global Community Service Project and Success Boot Camp, held during the NBMBAA Annual Conference and Exposition.

Since 1991, minority high school students have worked with mentors in the National Black MBA Association Leaders of Tomorrow Mentoring Program to develop discipline and set and achieve high academic standards. Since its inception, more than 8,000 minority high school students have been mentored through the program and more than 95 percent of LOT graduates enroll in a college or university.

For more information and participation details, visit: www.nbmbaa.org.